Pines Picks: Top Ten Dishes in Cambridge, MA

I recently got the chance to live in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for a few weeks. Over the course of my stay, I tried many restaurants in the area. It turns out, there is some incredible food in Cambridge. Listed below are my favorite ten dishes:

 

1. Best Waffle: Zinneken’s Belgian Waffles

 1154 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

Zinneken’s Belgian Waffles serves up the best sugary Belgian waffle in Cambridge. I ordered a liege waffle with Belgian chocolate and speculoos, and I was very pleased. Since the waffle is dense, it holds the rich melted chocolate in every bite. Mixed with the gingerbread-tasting speculoos, the waffle has a surprisingly unique, incredibly tasty flavor.

 

2. Best Sushi: Cafe Sushi

1105 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

Cafe Sushi — without a doubt — has the best sushi in Cambridge. The rice has a slight vinegar undertone, and is a solid accompaniment to their incredibly fresh fish. I loved the tuna scallion roll and would recommend it. The nori (seaweed) is tightly wrapped, and the sushi roll is soft and very easy to eat.

 

3. Best Ramen: Santouka Hokkaido Ramen

1 Bow St, Cambridge, MA 02138

Santouka Hokkaido Ramen specializes in ramen. I tried many types of their ramen, and I especially loved the Spicy Miso Ramen and the classic Shio Ramen. The Spicy Miso features a combination of “three kinds of chili peppers” and truly packs a punch. The spice, however, does not take away from the firmness of the thin noodles. I also loved the shio ramen, which was beautifully salted and featured a thick broth.

 

4. Best Scallion Pancake: Changsho

1712 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

Changsho is an institution; it has been serving amazing Chinese food since it was named Wong Foon in the 1970s. I got the chance to eat there, and it was by far my favorite restaurant in Cambridge. One of the highlights was their non-oily scallion pancakes. They are flaky and layered, with each layer crisp but chewy. The steaming pile of pancakes, dipped in a bit of soy sauce or a little duck sauce, makes for a great dish.

 

5. Best Nachos: Felipe’s Taqueria

21 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA 02138

After passing by and noticing a high-piled stack of hot nachos, I stopped in to get my own. Felipe’s has many options, but the nachos caught my eye. The nacho chips are put in an oven to melt the cheese and then are topped with refreshing, chopped Pico de Gallo, cubed medium steak, black beans, and tasty mild guacamole. I ended up making a second trip and ordered the same thing. They are that good.

 

6. Best Cannoli: Mike’s Pastry

11 Dunster St, Cambridge, MA 02138

Imagine a cookie filled with sweet, light cannoli cream and wrapped in chocolate chips. Mike’s Pastry has a Florentine cannoli that is exactly that. The cookie shell has the same thickness as a caramelized classic Florentine. The cannoli cream is lighter than most, but splashed with some well-sized chocolate chips, it suits the Florentine’s thickness well.

 

7. Best BBQ: Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ

16-18 Eliot St, Cambridge, MA 02138

You cannot go wrong with Kalbi Short Rib and steamed white rice from Japanese BBQ spot Gyu-Kaku. The meat is marinated in a delectable sweet and salty, almost teriyaki-like sauce. The Kalbi Short Rib is super thin and you cook it right at your table. After about two minutes, put the short rib right on top of some warm steamed white rice for a hearty and tasty meal.

 

8. Best Dumpling: Changsho

1712 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

The soup dumplings at Changsho are so good they justify their 30-minute wait time. Served with a small amount of tangy vinegar, the piping hot soup-filled dumplings are unbeatable. The casing of the dumpling is not sticky and holds a fair amount of the salty soup and some meat. A secret is to wait a few minutes for the dumplings to cool down just enough, and then eat each one whole so that the soup literally explodes in your mouth.

 

9. Best Falafel: Falafel Corner

8 Eliot St, Cambridge, MA 02138

Falafel Corner serves up some very tasty falafel. The dollops of chickpea are fried to a golden brown and then topped with flavorful tahini, tomato, and lettuce. Tightly wrapped in a warm pita, the falafel at Falafel House is well worth a try.

 

10. Best Pizza: Otto

1432 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

Otto has some super thin, very high-quality pizza. There are many options, but my favorite is the classic pepperoni. The slice has the right ratio of cheese to sauce to dough and hits the spot if you are looking for some satisfying pizza. (Note: the bottom of the slices have a fair amount of cornmeal, which may be a turn-off for some. However, I did not mind.)

Cabots

cabotsThe Patriot Parfait at Cabot’s is one of my favorite ice cream sundaes ever. Every time I am in Massachusetts I make sure to stop by. It comes with super creamy vanilla and strawberry ice creams, some blueberry sauce with mushy, compote-like blueberries, and strawberry sauce with compote-like strawberries. Then it is finished with some light whipped cream and a cherry. The mixture of red and blue make this mixture surrounding the ice cream that is mouthwatering. Refreshing, sweet, creamy, this ice cream sundae is remarkable.

Cabot’s
743 Washington St
Newton, MA 02460
(617) 964.9200
www.cabots.com

O YA Boston

o-ya-2 O Ya in Boston was one of the most wild sushi experiences ever. The sushi pieces had totally different flavors than expected, but it shockingly worked. Also, their soba soup with uni (Sea Urchin) was small but so delicious it was gone in seconds. In terms of sushi, I loved the warm eel with a cool Thai basic touch, the kohada, and the tuna. The rice in all pieces holds together well and they all had flavors not normally associated with the fish.

o-ya-3Apart from the sushi, I really enjoyed the kummamoto sashimi which was quick to slurp with a nice subtle almost vinaigrette flavor, the tamago which was so soft and had almost a poached texture with a hint of truffle, and the shrimp tempura dish which had a comforting foam. A restaurant unlike any other I have been too and an overall culinary adventure.

 

 

 

O Ya 
9 East Street
Boston, MA 02111
(617) 654-9900

www.o-ya.restaurant/o-ya-boston

o-ya-1o-ya-4

 

 

Rancatore’s

Ranc’s is an ice cream place I went to while in Massachusetts. It’s location in Belmont (they also have locations in Lexington and Newtonville) has some great, creative flavors which they switch out constantly. I loved the “Candyland” flavor which was a peanut butter ice cream mixed with tons of candies. Also, the Coffee Donut Ice Cream is a super creative flavor and tasty. It’s a fun small shop and their ice cream is great.

Rancatore’s
www.rancs.com

36 Leonard Street
Belmont, MA 02478
(617) 489-5090

1752 Massachusetts Avenue
Lexington, MA 02420
(781) 862-5090

333 Walnut Street
Newtonville, MA 02460
(617) 916-0963

Blue Ginger – Great Monkfish

blue-ginger

The Sake-Miso Marinated Sablefish (a.k.a. Butterfish) at Chef Ming Tsai’s Blue Ginger in Wellesley, Massachusetts was a delicious, flaky, tasty fish dish that comes with some soft soba noodle sushi rolls. The fish is cooked very well and the mix of spicy wasabi and sweet and sour soy sauce was great. Overall the dish is unique and worth a try.

 

 

Blue Ginger
583 Washington Street
Wellesley, MA 02482.
(781) 283-5790
www.ming.com/blue-ginger